Software AG and MxD partner for Supply Chain Risk Framework
Software AG Government Solutions announced yesterday it will produce a supply chain risk alert framework for the U.S Department of Defense (DoD) as part of a collaboration with MxD, the country's Digital manufacturing Institute and National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing.
The partnership will see Software AG provide MxD with hybrid integration solutions, as both companies deliver their plan for delivering supply chain risk alerts.
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed aspects of supply chains, resulting in the need to secure the U.S manufacturing supply chains, achieved by increasing resiliency and improving their current structure.
"Supply chain resiliency has long been part of MxD’s mission, but the pandemic gave our work new urgency and focus," said CEO of MxD, Chandra Brown.
Digital technologies, such as Software AG’s webMethods API management and integration platform which is critical to this project, are front and center as we work to improve security, visibility, and flexibility of our manufacturing sector – both to fortify U.S. competitiveness and to prepare for future crises," Brown added.
MxD, in addition to other industry partners and including Software AG Government Solutions, plan to develop a "rapid analysis tool" to provide supply chain leaders and policy makers with the ability to assess a wide range ofvalue chain designs surrounding the pandemic.
This aims to optimise supply chain resiliency and agility during an emergency.
According to Business Wire, the objective of this partnership is to help the DoD to "map existing supply chains to identify vulnerabilities, foreign dependencies, single source suppliers, and identify alternate or indirect suppliers."
CEO of Software AG Government Solutions, Tod Weber, said: " “MxD continues to demonstrate the value of its partner ecosystem and ability to quickly mobilize in order to provide innovative solutions to the U.S. government and manufacturing sector.
"We are proud to have been selected by MxD and the DoD for such a critical project and look forward to our continued partnership with MxD in developing this important capability.”
Google and NIST Address Supply Chain Cybersecurity
As high-level supply chain attacks hit the news, Google and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have both developed proposals for how to address software supply chain security. This isn’t a new field, unfortunately. Since supply chains are a critical part of business resilience, criminals have no qualms about targeting its software. That’s why identifying, assessing, and mitigating cyber supply chain risks (C-SCRM) is at the top of Google and NIST’s respective agendas.
High-Profile Supply Chain Attacks
According to Google, no comprehensive end-to-end framework exists to mitigate threats across the software supply chain. [Yet] ‘there is an urgent need for a solution in the face of the eye-opening, multi-billion-dollar attacks in recent months...some of which could have been prevented or made more difficult’.
Here are several of the largest cybersecurity failures in recent months:
- SolarWinds. Alleged Russian hackers slipped malicious code into a routine software update, which they then used as a Trojan horse for a massive cyberattack.
- Codecov. Attackers used automation to collect credentials and raid ‘additional resources’, such as data from other software development vendors.
- Malicious attacks on open-source repositories. Out of 1,000 GitHub accounts, more than one in five contained at least one dependency confusion-related misconfiguration.
As a result of these attacks and Biden’s recent cybersecurity mandate, NIST and Google took action. NIST held a 1,400-person workshop and published 150 papers worth of recommendations from Microsoft, Synopsys, The Linux Foundation, and other software experts; Google will work with popular source, build, and packaging platforms to help companies implement and excel at their SLSA framework.
What Are Their Recommendations?
Here’s a quick recap: NIST has grouped together recommendations to create federal standards; Google has developed an end-to-end framework called Supply Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA)—pronounced “Salsa”. Both address software procurement and security.
Now, here’s the slightly more in-depth version:
- NIST. The organisation wants more ‘rigorous and predictable’ ways to secure critical software. They suggest that firms use vulnerability disclosure programmes (VDP) and software bills of materials (SBOM), consider simplifying their software and give at least one developer per project security training.
- Google. The company thinks that SLSA will encompass the source-build-publish software workflow. Essentially, the four-level framework helps businesses make informed choices about the security of the software they use, with SLSA 4 representing an ideal end state.
If this all sounds very abstract, consider the recent SolarWinds attack. The attacker compromised the build platform, installed an implant, and injected malicious behaviour during each build. According to Google, higher SLSA levels would have required stronger security controls for the build platform, making it more difficult for the attacker to succeed.
How Do The Proposals Differ?
As Brian Fox, the co-founder and CTO at Sonatype, sees it, NIST and Google have created proposals that complement each other. ‘The NIST [version] is focused on defining minimum requirements for software sold to the government’, he explained, while Google ‘goes [further] and proposes a specific model for scoring the supply chain. NIST is currently focused on the “what”. Google, along with other industry leaders, is grappling with the “how”’.